Politician driving during Zoom call using fake backdrop given away by seatbelt

An Ohio state senator was caught putting a fake backdrop while driving during a government Zoom call – the same day the state was considering a bill proposing a crackdown on distracted drivers.

Andrew Brenner attended the Controlling Board meeting when he was, in fact, behind the wheel of his car on road.

In the footage live-streamed to the public online, he is seen wearing a seatbelt across his chest and looking left and right from time to time while his colleague discusses the use of federal funds.

Mr Brenner hides his background using a fake backdrop of his home office, which the filter features brown wooden cabinets, hanging art pieces, and a houseplant.

At some point, he looks into the camera and even shakes his head when a member asks: "Are there any objections?"

The senator has since faced criticisms over his act of "dangerous driving".

But he has since hit back and insisted he was not distracted during the call.

"I was paying attention to the driving and listening to it," Brenner told The Columbus Dispatch. "I had two meetings that were back to back that were in separate locations.

"And I've actually been on other calls, numerous calls while driving. Phone calls for the most part but on video calls, I'm not paying attention to the video. To me, it's like a phone call."

His spokesman John Fortney added: "Senator Brenner was simply following the law, using hands-free audio technology."

The incident happened as Ohio's House of Representatives considered a bill that penalised phone use while driving.

House Bill 283 would outlaw drivers from doing a number of things behind the wheel, including texting, taking photos and using mobile apps.

It would also make both holding and using an electronic device while driving, like looking up directions, a primary offence.

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